I thought I’d take advantage of the off day to ramble a bit on a few various threads of conversation within the fan base. The team is going through an awful losing streak and hasn’t looked like a legitimate major league team in a few weeks. Ryan Doumit has been particularly awful, both behind the plate and a first base. There’s been a bit of talk about him potentially being traded before the July 31st deadline, presumably why he was playing 1st base in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of trying to show that Doumit can play a competent first base in order to elevate his trade value, but that clearly has backfired. So, given the failed experiment, that pretty well limits the trade options to AL contenders willing to give up something for a DH/C, a rather small group. Whether (and consequently where) Ryan Doumit might be traded at this point is anyones guess, but based on his recent performance, it seems increasingly unlikely that the return will be anything worthwhile.
Moving on from our catcher who can’t catch, lets talk prospects and promotions. With Walker, Tabata, and Brad Lincoln all called up, the only major piece left at AAA is top prospect Pedro Alvarez. There’s been quite a bit of speculation about Pedro being called up during the upcoming home stand. The team could clearly use the help, and from all indications based on his numbers in Indy, Pedro is ready. The only real question is when? Given that nothing has been announced yet, I’m gonna guess it won’t happen before tomorrows game. The Friday night game against Cleveland might be a good choice, but no matter when the call up comes, expect it to come soon.
Finally, I want to take a very quick look back at the Pirates draft. The Pirates were able to nap the top 2 upside arms in the draft in first and second round picks Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie. Those 2 players alone, assuming they can sign them, could make this draft a huge success. Both can touch the high 90s on the radar gun, and Allie has even been clocked in triple digits. Taillon is the more polished of the two, with Allie being seen as very raw and with significant command and control issues that will need to be worked out. Nonetheless, these 2 players would be very significant additions to the system. As Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus said on Rocco DeMaro’s Pirates extra Innings radio show after the draft, if they can sign both Allie and Taillon, this draft could potentially be seen as the day that turned this franchise around. Now obviously that assumes a lot in the way of projection and development, but it does show you the potential these 2 prep pitchers have. They are precisely the kind of high-upside arms the Pirates minor league system currently lacks.
Beyond the first 2 rounds, I can’t claim to know much about the players the Pirates drafted. There was a heavy focus on right handed prep pitchers, which was seen as the strength of this draft. Realistically, its tough to evaluate any teams draft in MLB until after the August 15th signing deadline. Once we find out which players the Pirates sign and which go to college or otherwise go unsigned, it will be much easier to figure out what kind of talent they have acquired.